KARACHI: Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar has said that the Sindh government had taken all those revenue departments of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), under the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 (SLGA), through which around Rs15 billion revenue was generated annually. Addressing a press conference in his office on Friday, the mayor said that the KMC would need no further financial assistance if these departments were returned to the municipal body. Deputy Mayor Syed Arshad Hasan, city council parliamentary leader, Aslam Shah Afridi and Parks Committee Chairperson Khurram Farhan were present on the occasion.
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The city cannot be run with the entry fee collected at the Karachi Zoo or rents collected from shops, said the mayor, asking how could the KMC enhance its recovery when it does not have such departments under it? According to Akhtar, the provincial government collects Rs4.5b to 5b from the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and the city's Master Plan 2020 which are civic organisations, besides collecting Rs300b to Rs400b in other taxes. The citizens of Karachi have the right on these resources. This revenue belongs to the city, said the mayor.
Referring to the chief minister's statement that the mayor should increase KMC's recovery, Akhtar said that the city could not be run under the resources and departments given under SLGA 2013 and asked for the departments which had been taken from under KMC, to be returned.
The water crisis in the city has worsened, remarked the mayor, adding that the CM had admitted to faults in the K-IV project as well. Water theft and leakage should be managed if the situation is to improve, however, under the prevailing system it was not possible for anyone to address these issues, claimed Akhtar.
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The mayor also referred to the action taken by K-Electric (KE) against the non-recovery of electricity bills from the municipal body. It has been a week since KE cut off the electricity supply to the KMC Office, he said, adding that the KMC did not have the resources to pay its electricity bills. Disbursement of salary and pensions as well other affairs couldn't be done due to this while the staff has been working in the balconies, he claimed.
The municipal body's revenue depends on the octroi and zila tax share from the government but the provincial government had taken recovery departments under its authority or had given those departments to district municipal corporations which were directly controlled by the provincial government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2019.